Documentary: What The Hell Happened To GM?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Now there’s a question… and here’s part one of DocumentaryHD’s video attempt at answering it.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Geeber Geeber on Sep 09, 2009

    Commando, People were saying the same thing regarding 1950s cars in the 1950s. At that time, purists believed that the only true "classics" were the ultra-expensive, multicylinder cars built prior to World War II. Read what people were saying about cars built in the late 1950s when they were new. It wasn't always very flattering.

  • Jonny b Jonny b on Sep 09, 2009

    It's not the unions or management or the government or healthcare costs. It's design, plain and simple. The competition has simply out-designed GM in almost every market segment for 30 years. Honda and Toyota designed better econo cars. BMW, Mercedes and Lexus designed better luxury cars. Ford designed better trucks and SUVs. It's not even that surprising. Good design is hard to pull off consistently. It's streaky. You need to constantly re-commit yourself to good design. Even then it requires a little bit of luck and magic. And if you get out-designed for a long enough time so consistently you lose your credibility. That's the end of your brand. You musn't cry about it. It happens every day.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Sep 09, 2009
    “The idea of GM going bankrupt was like the U.S. government going bankrupt: It was really inconceivable.” Unfortunately, that’s not so inconceivable anymore. Not a chance. There's still plenty of good land. You could sell Alaska back to Russia. Hawaii/Guam etc to Japan (they always wanted it). Canada might buy Washington State (Microsoft and Boeing would love to move). New York could be sold to Israel. Oh wait, scratch that. Texas could be sold (given?) to Mexico. How ironic would that be!
  • Aqua225 Aqua225 on Sep 09, 2009

    johnny b: I disagree that its design. It's not. A lot of people buy a lot of bland cars from Toyota everyday. Even with GM in the dumps, a lot of people still buy a lot of bland GM cars everyday, so I don't think the "design" argument is much of the equation to GM whittling itself away to a non-contender. After all, locomotive were GM's forte, and even as the business dwindled, horsepower and reliability of their locomotives were marching forward (except maybe the SD50 and SD60). They had good AC traction in the game early. Then they gave up... on their customers. Reliability was not the problem, but even the best built machine will eventually break. That's when the quality of your customer service comes in. And in GM's locomotive division, it was my understanding that GM expected you to buy a 2million dollar vehicle, and if it broke, deal with a bunch clueless people to have it worked on. It must say something that the people who EMD now (Greenbriar Capital, I believe) have stabilized the business and they are once again competing with General Electric. Also, GM, rather than fixing the problems in the division, just decided to dump it. SO they learned nothing, except ruin something and dump it while the price is good. They did that to a lot of things they touched. To me, the top management at GM is the one and only real problem, and unfortunately, they haven't really experienced any damage as a result of the bankruptcy. Many will ride it to the bitter end, and then move on to jobs in other industries where they will spread their disease. The engineers (between the labor unions and the management), will suffer slow burnouts as they watch their coworkers layed off in wave after wave, and themselves have to take on more rolls, and take more complaints since their work quality will drop with the increased pressures of the job. Meanwhile the union man will get his bailout from the Government. The top level management should be marched in front of a judge to make summary pronouncements on their malfeasance, and be condemned to never work as a professional EVER AGAIN. I can't blame the union guys, even though their support of the socialist path is truly annoying, since they only bargained for as much as they could get. It was GM management who did the giving. After all GM management sums up all problems at the company: (1) Small cars no one wants. (2) Union deals that make me want to be a union man. (3) Quality problems across the board. (4) Bleeding money: GM should have been able to sustain this small economic downturn, had they been prepared. Obviously, they weren't. I just can't comprehend how these people remained in power or how they sat down at their polished mahogany boardroom tables and just watched it burn, and did nothing. On my paranoid days, I think it must be conspiracy. On other days, it just seems like Nazi Germany: the leader is strict and disciplined, so that must mean we need to do what he says (The Wave, anyone?). But what I wonder, is that the people at the very top ---- don't they know they could have made a LOT more money running the company successfully? In America, we are the land of the executive overcompensation people. We reward success in a major way --- did these guys just have so much, they didn't want anymore? Were they simply not greedy enough? I will bet the demise of GM will be talked about for next 500 years, at least, in economic classes throughout the galaxy (if we get that far by that time). The paradox of it all is just too complex to comprehend or write about in one single post to a blog, or even 1000 posts!